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Victoria considers suburban lockdown as cases surge

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Victoria has recorded 75 fresh COVID-19 cases, a day after authorities said they were considering introducing lockdowns in some suburban hotspots to combat a surge in infections.

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One new case confirmed today was linked to hotel quarantine, 14 were linked to known outbreaks, 37 were detected through routine testing and 23 were under investigation, Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said on Monday.

Victoria now has more than 2000 cases.

It comes after the state recorded 49 new cases yesterday – the state’s highest daily total since April 2.

Premier Daniel Andrews said authorities are waiting on the full results of the three-day coronavirus testing blitz in 10 suburban hotspots to come through before deciding on any further measures to contain the virus.

He has not ruled out a lockdown for the worst-affected areas.

“That is not our preference but we’ll do it if we need to,” he said.

Plans to ease restrictions were put on hold by the state government last week, while the number of visitors allowed at homes was reduced to five.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said it will not be clear for another five to six days how successful the interventions have been in containing the virus.

“If it continues to increase, I think those are the circumstances where you think about an additional intervention, and especially if it is localised in a particular postcode or a particular suburb,” Professor Sutton said.

On Sunday, they announced returned overseas travellers would be forced to submit to coronavirus testing or face an additional 10 days in hotel quarantine.

The move comes after it was revealed 30 per cent of returned travellers had been refusing tests.

Andrews explained many were young children whose parents did not wish them to undergo uncomfortable nose and throat swabs.

“It is not a pleasant procedure,” he said.

Less-invasive saliva tests, developed by the Doherty Institute, are now being rolled out.

-AAP

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